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Protecting confidentiality of clients.
(1) In general. The psychologist shall safeguard the confidential information obtained in the course of practice, teaching, research, or other professional duties. With the exceptions set forth below, the psychologist shall disclose confidential information to others only with the informed written consent of the client.
When a corporation or other organization is the client, rules of confidentiality apply to information pertaining to the organization, including personal information about individuals when obtained in the proper course of that contract. Such information about individuals is subject to confidential control of the organization, not of the individual, and can be made available to the organization, unless the information was obtained in a separate professional relationship with that individual.
(2) Disclosure without informed written consent. The psychologist may disclose confidential information without the informed written consent of the client only in compliance with the Uniform Health Care Information Act, chapter 70.02
(3) Services involving more than one interested party. In a situation in which more than one party has a legally recognized interest in the professional services rendered by the psychologist to a recipient, the psychologist shall, to the extent possible, clarify to all parties, in writing, prior to rendering the services the dimensions of confidentiality and professional responsibility that shall pertain in the rendering of services. Such clarification is specifically indicated, among other circumstances, when the client is an organization.
(4) Legally dependent clients. At the beginning of a professional relationship, to the extent that the client can understand, the psychologist shall inform a client who is under the age of thirteen or who has a legal guardian of the limit the law imposes on the right of confidentiality with respect to his/her communications with the psychologist. For clients between the age of thirteen and eighteen, the psychologist shall clarify any limits to confidentiality between the minor and legal guardians at the outset of services. The psychologist will act in the minor's best interests in deciding whether to disclose confidential information to the legal guardians without the minor's consent.
(5) Limited access to client records. The psychologist shall limit access to client records and shall ensure that all persons working under his/her authority are familiar with the requirements for confidentiality of client material.
(6) When rendering psychological services as part of a team which includes nonhealth care professionals, if the psychologist shares confidential information about the client when so authorized by the client, the psychologist shall advise all persons receiving the information from the psychologist that the information should be maintained in a confidential manner.
(7) Reporting of abuse of children and vulnerable adults. The psychologist shall comply with chapter 26.44
(8) Observation and electronic recording. The psychologist shall obtain documented informed consent of the client, guardian or agent for observed or electronically recorded sessions.
(9) Disguising confidential information. When case reports or other confidential information are used as the basis of teaching, research, or other published reports, the psychologist shall exercise reasonable care to insure that the reported material is appropriately disguised to prevent client identification.
(10) Confidentiality if client is deceased. The psychologist shall comply with the Uniform Health Care Information Act, chapter 70.02
(11) Confidentiality after termination of professional relationship. The psychologist shall continue to treat information regarding a client as confidential after the professional relationship between the psychologist and the client has ceased.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.83.050
(5) and chapter 18.83
RCW. WSR 93-07-036 (Order 337B), § 246-924-363, filed 3/10/93, effective 4/10/93.]